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Bryan Family Artifacts and Mementos

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This week on TMBBQ we’ll take a look at the Bryan family’s barbecue legacy. From Elias, to Red, to Sonny Bryan and beyond, the Dallas roots of this family tree run deep, but the branches extend well beyond Texas.

With so much family history, there are plenty of artifacts and mementos that I’ve captured images of. There are just too many to share in the upcoming stories, so here’s a look at some great ones. Many of these are hanging on the walls at David’s Barbecue in Arlington where Elias Bryan’s great grandson Jimmy Harris works the pits.


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It all started at Bryan’s Barbecue in Oak Cliff at Jefferson and Beckley. The photo above hangs on the wall at David’s Barbecue in Arlington.


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The interior of the original Bryan’s Barbecue with Elias Bryan behind the counter. From David’s Barbecue.


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Postcard from Red Bryan’s Smokehouse which opened in Oak Cliff in 1947. From Sonny Bryan’s Barbecue.


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The menu from Red Bryan’s Smokehouse circa 1950’s. From David’s Barbecue.


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El Ranchito on Jefferson in Dallas is the former home of Red Bryan’s Smokehouse in Oak Cliff.


Red Bryan's Pit 02

The pits at the old Red Bryan’s Smokehouse are still intact. The restaurant is now El Ranchito. They have no use for the old pits, so they are welded shut with prep tables placed against them.


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A couple recently purchased a home in Oak Cliff, and soon realized it was the former home of Sonny Bryan. Mara, the homeowner, on her blog wrote about the items she found in the attic including this military rucksack.


Bryan's BBQ 32Military photo of Sonny Bryan. From Sonny Bryan’s Barbecue.


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The lucky horseshoe that has hung at all the original Bryan’s Barbecue locations hangs above the register at Sonny Bryan’s Barbecue on Inwood.

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  • dallassooner

    Eaten at El Ranchito several times; didn’t realize the history with that place. Very cool.

  • Becky Epps Stewart

    I love the Barbecue and the sauce. But I really appreciate Mr, Red Bryan for Teaching my Father How to “do the business”. We moved to San Antonio and were able to eventually put in a restaurant that served many things, but people liked our barbecue best!. I guess, My dad got a sort of a Degree in Barbecue, and we in our family appreciate that education because Daddy was in the business almost until the day he died, providing so much , so Very much for our family. I am doing a bit of study of my ancestry, and Red’s is a big part of it! Thank you so much! Becky Epps Stewart